Spiderman – Homecoming

FAMILY NIGHT AT THE MOVIE | By Christopher Hill –

Spider-Man, Spider-Man,

Another reboot is in the can.

They spun a yarn, Marvel-wise,

It’ll catch fanboys just like flies.

At long last!

Here comes the Spider-Man.

In 2015, Marvel Studios and Sony reached an agreement whereby the character Spider-Man would be appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The internet rejoiced as one of the founding heroes of Marvel Comics returned home. For Marvel, the cost was steep, as Sony retains all of the box-office receipts while Marvel/Disney collects on merchandise. Most importantly for Marvel, however, is their use in upcoming movies, beyond the series, of the strong and long-lasting character Spider-Man.

The stakes for both parties are high. If the film is a success, then it could move other film studios that have rights over certain characters to become more interested in a collaborative agreement. This could open up the Hulk for another solo film or bring the first family of comics, the Fantastic Four, back to the MCU. For Sony, a successful film could greenlight their stalled development of the Spider-Man universe of characters and bring back a resurgence of the character after a tepid reboot in 2012.

That series featured tons of characters and action with little resonance. The first version, with Toby Maguire, revolutionized the infancy superhero genre and included Spider-Man 2, arguably one of the best superhero movies since.

For Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel chose to bring the character back to his roots, grounded in modern-day but back to high school, where Peter Parker’s humor and awkwardness charmed readers for decades. Peter (Tom Holland) is a genius-level high-school student who attends classes by day and patrols the streets at night stopping low-level bad guys. But, he longs for more. In Captain America: Civil War, Spidey got to compete in the superhero front lines, but since then, he has received a relative cold shoulder from Stark Industries and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). When Spider-Man runs afoul of some alien tech arms dealers led by the Vulture (Michael Keaton), he is instructed to let the major heroes handle it. Peter does what any teenager does: he rebels.

Throughout the entire film, Peter’s personal life is constantly out of balance. He is smart, awkward, overly secure and completely insecure – all at the same time. He is a teenager. Unlike other teenagers, he has the proportional strength of a spider, can walk on walls and has a specially prepared Stark-tech suit. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the story of that balance. How can a kid mature and grow while battling bad guys and fighting for respect from Tony Stark?

Spider-Man: Homecoming revels in that balance and does so with humor, smart writing and respect to the source material. Throw in some top-flight action sequences, and you have the best blockbuster of the summer. The film flows brilliantly between Parker’s struggle with girls, friends and his need for acceptance. The allusions to being a teenager are genuine and thoughtful. Relatively unknown director Jon Watts has created the best Spider-Man movie since 2004.

In that film, Spider-Man faced a thoughtful rendition of Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina). Here he faces longtime Spider-Man villain but B-level bad guy The Vulture. The acting and writing surrounding this criminal bring him up a level, making him not only a strong foil, but a logically sound one as well. This film is full of surprises.

Another newcomer is Tom Holland. Playing such a revered role seems to be second nature to him. He is delightfully awkward but can mold into a struggling tough guy so quickly that it is hard to believe he has been acting for such a short time. He fits the role perhaps better than anyone before him.

Spider-Man’s preview appearance in Civil War was a nice appetizer, but Homecoming is a feast: smart writing, unseen turns, intense action coupled with delightful humor and genuine humanity. You cheer for the good guys and dislike the bad guys, with no gray-area confusion. Bring the family, get some popcorn and enjoy Spider-Man’s homecoming to Marvel, a yarn spun for us all to enjoy.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Now Showing: In Theaters
Rated: PG-13
Violence: Yes, mostly typical superhero fighting; however, there is a disintegration of a villain.
Language: Limited and all in the background or cut off before.
Sexuality: None, other than some high school ogling.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures. ©2017 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are property of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and Marvel Entertainment.